Miranda Qualtrough: Plymouth in Practice

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Miranda Qualtrough graduated from Plymouth College of Art in 2016. Her work currently features in our Plymouth in Practice exhibition in the Museum’s Entrance Gallery.

Miranda’s work reflects her interest in the relationship between people, nature and pottery. Each vessel is unique and in Miranda’s own words expresses beauty and flaws in the workmanship. She chooses porcelain for her work because its translucence and delicacy most resembles human skin. It also has a wonderful absorbent surface which embraces the elements she surrounds the vessels in during firing.

Forms are slip cast from moulds and models she makes herself, each one unique, and each burnished to a high shine. It is this burnishing and smoke firing in her work that she feels celebrates and remembers traditional methods used in pottery by our ancestors. The work is purely decorative now, which brings us into the modern world of ceramic appreciation.

The surface effects are created by wrapping the pots in tin foil, or paper, surrounding them with the vegetation that she comes across: items from walks, her garden, organic forms from around her studio. These parcels are then either fired in her raku kiln, or a fire, and left to cool. Finally they are sealed with a natural beeswax that Miranda makes herself.

Her smooth surfaced vessels have an ethereal quality to them. The translucent, ghostly images of leaves and flora create a photographic effect – like an over exposed film negative. Decorative forms are sometimes clear and identifiable, such as a fern or the skeletal structure of the veins on a leaf, and sometimes opaque and ambiguous. It is these layers of interest, form and detail that makes Miranda’s work so compelling.

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